GMH adds 8 new beds at ICU and surgical ward, installs bulletproof doors at emergency department
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam Memorial Hospital has added eight new beds, valued at $20,000 each, at the intensive care unit and surgical ward, the governor's office announced today.
GMH also announced the installation of bulletproof security doors and security posts and renovated the emergency department as part of safety and security improvements to protect patients and staff from aggressive or threatening individuals attempting to enter.
GMH identified the need to increase the total number of ICU beds after the Covid-19 pandemic revealed a shortage of beds necessary to handle high occupancy numbers and emergency surges.
In 2020, a total of 447 patients were treated at GMH, with total admissions equal to 127 days for an average length of stay of 17 days. By increasing the number of critical care beds, GMH is better prepared to respond to future outbreaks and surges.
"With federal funds, we have this once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the legacy of healthcare neglect under prior administrations," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.
“To date, we have implemented innovative telemedicine pathways, increased nurse pay, and funded new ICU beds, ambulances, and other resources to improve our state of healthcare now as we simultaneously pursue the bigger picture of a Guam Medical Complex,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio.
“The donation of these high-tech beds will help in the healing process of our patients,” said GMH Administrator and CEO Lillian Perez-Posadas “The beds are very comfortable and have state-of-the-art features that relieve some of the discomfort patients may feel during their recovery."
To beef up security measures, the hospital's Security Force is training around the clock to ensure their skills are at the highest level of preparedness for any situation. Improvements to security in the Emergency Department have included changes to where emergency patients enter the ED, including those arriving by ambulance.
GMH said everyone is now required to enter the ED via the main entrance where the lobby and triage are located. The entrance on the left-hand side is exclusively for ambulances transporting patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses.
The security guard stationed at the trauma entrance will only open these doors for ambulances transporting patients in life-threatening conditions.
The new bulletproofing renovation at this entrance is called the Sally Port. The inner Sally Port doors can be locked down allowing individuals to exit the Emergency Room but not enter. The Sally Port is further protected by a hardened bulletproof wall to protect the security guard. Anyone attempting to enter the ER must walk through the first set of glass doors before approaching the Sally Port doors.
The Sally Port enables the security guard time to trigger the automatic lock on the Sally Port doors. Once activated, the Sally Port engages a 2,000 lbs. automatic lock.
Both areas where GMH security guards are stationed in the ED have been reinforced with bullet-proof walls. In the unlikely event that a potentially violent individual enters the main ED entrance, they will be face-to-face with one or more of GMH’s security guards. GMH security guards participate in extensive and ongoing training to handle a variety of situations. GMH’s security team regularly participates in Officer Survival Training Level I, through the Department of Corrections (DOC).
The team trains with Capt. Joey Pocaigue, who is currently conducting a cycle of training with DOC guards. GMH’s security team is scheduled to begin the next training session with the DOC in December. In addition to training with DOC, security staff at GMH are trained in the tactical deployment of handcuffs and participate in Mechanical Expandable Bravo training in the use of a baton.
GMHA security is also trained in knife defense, hand-to-hand combat, and basic Jiu-Jitsu. The security team must re-certify their Oleoresin Capsicum Aerosol training in the use of pepper spray every two years. The security team trains regularly at the hospital to ensure their skills are top-level at all times. In addition to the increased security measures at the ED, security is always on duty at the main entrance of GMH.